Good morning! This week continues to feel upside down but I’m here today to share my recent reading with you. As I alluded to on Monday, my reading has slowed down quite a bit after a busy February. But I have one finished readaloud for you, an update on my slow and steady reads, and what I’m enjoying right now. And there is so much to enjoy!!
Books Finished This Week:
Bronwyn and I finished Meet Samantha, and sigh. She is lovely, but she is no Addy. The Samantha books are set in 1904, which is the Victorian period. She’s being raised by her wealthy grandmother and is expected to act like a “lady” at all times. It looks like this series is going to play with ideas about race and class, which will be interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing how that unfolds!
Slow & Steady:
Despite everything, I have stayed consistent with my daily War and Peace reading! I’m now over 770 pages into the novel and almost 2/3 of the way finished. I am still fascinated by Princess Marya, who’s father has just died. Marya has now met Nikolai Rostov and fell in love with him within just a few pages. And it seems like he has too? These people are so fickle! But war seems to have that effect on people falling in love.
I have found that I’m reading beyond my prescribed 20 pages a day because these characters have become quite captivating. And Sarah will probably have finished it by the time this post is published so I don’t have to worry about spoiling anything for her!
I am reading What Are People For? with Mary and it has been such a wonderful dip into Berry’s mind. I’m a little less than halfway through it and have really enjoyed it. Other than his poetry, this is my first time reading his non-fiction and I feel like I can hear his curmudgeonly voice coming through. So far, this mostly seems to be a collection of book and poetry reviews from the 70s and 80s.
In some cases, he picks a poem or short story apart and tells us what he finds beautiful in it and what it means to him. It’s like taking a literature class with him and it feels like I should be paying tuition. But luckily, I got this book as a Kindle deal a few years ago and paid less than $3 for it — nowhere near the price of tuition!
I am so happy to be in the middle of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. I started this on audio in early February but was having a hard time keeping the timeline and characters straight, so I returned it to the library and requested an interlibrary loan — and it is so much easier to follow! The cover of the copy I’m reading calls it a modern day War & Peace; what are the chances that I’d be reading both books at the same time?!
I’m also listening to Louise Erdrich’s The Master Butchers Singing Club – and friends. Several of you have commented and said that it’s your favorite Erdrich; I’m barely halfway through it but I must agree. It is wonderful. Amazing. I am loving these characters and the setting! I think it might be the prequel to The Beet Queen, but I no longer have my copy and can’t check the family tree to confirm. Either way – it is excellent and I’m enjoying every second of listening to it.
Did you see that The Women’s Prize for Fiction released their longlist yesterday? It looks excellent but I’m trying to control myself. Last year I tried to read all of the longlisted titles but this year I will be waiting for the short list. I have so many backlist titles that I want to get to — Wendell Berry, Louise Erdrich, etc. — and I don’t want to get sidetracked by the shiny new things on the horizon. I hope I can resist the FOMO and stay steady with what I’ve already planned for and committed to. Wish me luck!
That’s all for today. I hope to be back on Friday with a little stitching update. Until then — take good care!
Good for you, resisting the FOMO and shiny new things. ( Sooooo, for me that means that I did NOT purchase a book this morning!) Have a wonderful day…I’m so loving the morning light (before we spring forward and make it dark again…)
One of my daughters had Samantha. The other one had Molly. Long time ago. You are making great progress with “War and Peace,” and I was struck by how the characters have now grabbed you, which makes reading this massive book a pleasure. I felt the same way about “Middlemarch,” another tome. By the end, I was reading like a crazy person to see how it ended. The sign of a good book, don’t you think?
I really do want to read Middlemarch. I’m in the middle of War and Peace, and it definitely has me reading wildly to see what happens to the characters!
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Wonderful! I love it when books grip me that way.
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Guess what I finished last night?! I totally agree with you that these people are so fickle (especially Natasha, but I think we forget that she’s just a child/teenager and that’s what girls are like at that age). I enjoyed Constellation so much, even though it’s so heartbreaking. I read it almost a year ago and am still thinking about it.
I loved Constellation as well! Yes, it was heartbreaking, but gosh did it make me think!
I scanned the list last night and put *just* 3 titles on my tbr list… and I was pleasantly surprised to see I had read several others! Ha! Some looked not very intriguing to me… but that might change if they make it to the short list!
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is one of my favorite books ever, I hope you love it too!
I’m in the middle of part ten of War and Peace, and it is so much war. I do love Princess Marya. Her sweetness is very evident.
It is difficult not to get distracted by new releases and all the hype around books. I was looking at my little notebook of titles that I might want to read and was struck by how fast the hype of new titles comes and goes. I enjoy your thoughtful approach to reading. I can’t wait to read what you think of The Master Butchers Singing Club – interesting idea that it might be the prequel to The Beet Queen. That’s one I haven’t read. Oh dear – here I go off my list for this winter season.
I’m so glad to hear you’re loving Master Butcher (it’s one of the highest rated of her books on Goodreads, so you’re in fine company!) … how cool to see connections back to Beet Queen – I do still have my copy – should I send you a photo of the family tree?
and all the love for another month of dark early coffee and a collection of thoughtful essays to be reading along with you!
Two other bloggers I follow wrote about the longlist and I thought of you and wondered if you’d be trying to read them all! Good for you for sticking with what’s working this year. I’m not a bookish prize person so I don’t feel the pull but I bet it’s challenging to manage!